"The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" by Katherine Howe is a must-read book! Beautifully written, this book takes place in Massachusetts and travels back and forth from the 1990s to the late 17th century. Knowing the time and location you must know this concerns the Salem Witch Trials. Indeed it does, but in a new and fascinating treatment.
Connie is a Harvard grad student immersed in historical research involving Colonial America. With an advisor of questionable motivations encouraging her to seek out a "new primary source" for her research, Connie begins an intriguing study into the lives of the women accused of witchcraft during that bleak era in our history. Connie's hippie-trippie mother, who lives in Santa Fe because of the awesome vibes, requests Connie to return to the family home in Marblehead MA to clean up the centuries-old delapidated struture and place it on the market. Through several odd episodes in the house, Connie begins to see connections between the house and the history of a woman named Deliverance Dane who was accused of witchcraft so long ago in Salem.
Painting a picture of the old Salem in a rich, bold manner, the author of this novel has obviously done extensive research into the life and times of the people, notably of the women, of that age. There are a few harrowing scenes that bring into focus the reality and horror of living back in a time of fear, betrayal, superstition and religious intolerance. The technique the author employs to take us from current times into the past is done seamlessly without halting the story.
This book moves solidly and tensely through a series of events, building suspense and anticipation, feeding us hints of what is to come and making it impossible to set the book down.
You will see witchcraft in a different light, and also live through a heart-breaking episode that makes the past come alive in an all too-real way. I highly recommend this book, urging you to read it at your earliest convenience. It is a stunning work.
"The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane", published by Hyperion, New York NY copyright 2009 by Katherine Howe.